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When is the best time to attend college?

Frank Bruni, author and New York Times columnist, spoke on the Wisconsin Public Radio’s Kathleen Dunn Show yesterday about his newest book and how high school might be too early for many young people to make lifelong decisions. You can listen here.

I feel lucky that I caught this show yesterday because it hits on the topic of college choices defining (or not) what a person will become. Frank tells Kathleen and the audience that, for many people, the first few years out of high school could be better spent figuring out what life has to offer before going to a prestigious university and paying an equally “prestigious” amount for it.

“It can take a little while to figure out what you want to do,” says Frank. “I don’t really know a lot of 17-year-olds who really know their skills or the job market well enough to figure out how they’re going to spend the rest of their lives.”

I could not agree with Frank Bruni more. I took college classes twice because I did it wrong the first time around, straight out of high school. I took the classes without knowing anything about the industry I chose or researching the job market for the program I was in. I didn’t understand what networking really was. The second time around, I did much better, but I am still learning.

In my last post, I discussed how important it is to do the job market research early, and it is. However, early just means do it before trying to seriously apply to those jobs. If you’re hard set on a certain career in high school, cool, but do the research on it. If you’re not hard set on anything right out of high school, though, you have plenty of time to figure out your calling without having to jump onto a college campus. Everyone still alive still has time to attend college.

I am not saying college is a waste of time, because it certainly is not. I loved my college experiences for all the opportunities it gave me: advice, networking, education, access to organizations and knowledgeable speakers, and ways to gain experience in my chosen field.

Go to college, if that’s what you need to do for your career choice, but do it when you have a set goal in mind. Go with a purpose.

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3 comments on “When is the best time to attend college?

  1. i only started studying a degree last year (after being our of high school for 9 years), and that is because I realised that unfortunately if you are under qualified in today’s world, you are further down the food chain and more likely to land a crappy job, if one at all. Also, I am studying a degree for a position that I have gained some experience in so I know what the job market is like and what would be required of me. I totally agree with this whole post!!

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